The Pinal County Board of Supervisors last week reviewed a plan to borrow money and construct some new buildings. Meanwhile, the board reviewed a budget that calls for a 4-cent decrease in the property tax rate. Both developments can be seen as a sign of growth in the county and managing Pinal government properly.
For many years Pinal has had one of the higher tax rates in the state due to various factors including high costs and rural property values. However, the county has been growing rapidly in recent decades, and following the Great Recession, it has a growing tax base. This has allowed some rate reductions, which the board and other county officials have worked diligently to achieve.
Years ago, a plan for a new county courthouse was rejected by voters, but Pinal eventually got a nice new courthouse in the early 2000s through good planning without voter approval. The courthouse has since been expanded. The current proposal involves a new building for the County Attorney’s Office to free up space in the courthouse. Other parts involve new complexes in Maricopa and San Tan Valley, which are at far ends of the county and growing rapidly. Of course, San Tan Valley’s nature of being an unincorporated city puts more strain on county resources.
The supervisors are generally supportive of the bond plan, although Casa Grande Supervisor Steve Miller said he wants more information. Miller is known for being very conservative with tax dollars, and there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps the plan will be revised, but it seems to be pretty well thought out. Some of the proposal involves gaining efficiency and ending lease arrangements, and some of the cost would be borne by development impact fees.
In the meantime, taxpayers can be happy the rate is declining, although in many cases declining rates are offset by higher property values. But without the rate cut, the situation would be worse.